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Hassan Nasrallah speaks on Egypt

Hezbollah leader has finally spoken on Egypt.  Based on this Al Jazeera article, he didn’t say anything unexpected.  He praised the protesters, comparing their achievements to those of his own group in its war with Israel in 2006.  Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been wary of the Lebanese Shi’a group for some time.  In all, the statements match those made Friday by Ayatollah Khamenei.  As for the United States:

Nasrallah also lashed out at the US for what he termed “backing the worst dictatorships” in the Middle East.

“The United States is trying to contain the revolution and improve its own ugly image in the Middle East and Islamic world … after years of backing the worst dictatorships our region has ever seen,” Nasrallah said.

“But be sure that regimes allied with the United States and Israel cannot stand long against the will of the people.”

 

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Hezbollah contemplates building a unity government in Lebanon

Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah has stated that in seeking to reform the Lebanese government he will honor the tradition of unity leaders and institutions, rather than make a more extreme decision to form a government dominated by Hezbollah, according to this Al Jazeera article.  Expect Hezbollah’s pick for the next Prime Minister to come in the next few days, but do not expect it to be Saad Hariri, whose insistence at getting to the bottom of his father’s assassination caused the parliament to dissolve in the first place.

Turkey and Qatar give up on Lebanon mediation as well

BBC News is reporting that the ministers from Turkey and Qatar are heading home after several days of failure to make progress.  The deal that they were working on, which derives from a plan by Syria and Saudi Arabia, involves dissolving the UN tribunal investigating the Hariri assassination in exchange for Hezbollah offering “guarantees” about its weapons.  The main concern is still this:

Correspondents say a protracted crisis is likely to follow, and there are widespread fears that it could lead to the type of sectarian violence last seen in May 2008, which left 100 people dead and brought the country close to civil war.

Saudi Arabia gives up on Lebanon

According to this Al Jazeera article, Saudi Arabia will no longer endeavor to solve the problems plaguing Lebanon.  The Kingdom had been working with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.  The countries stepping in to fill the diplomatic void are Turkey and Qatar.

The article also includes some colorful quotes from Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinejad, addressing the United States and other Western interlopers:

“You are on a rough downhill path that will take you into a deep valley and your actions show that your decline is on a fast track,” Ahmadinejad told a cheering crowd in the city of Yazd in a speech broadcast live on state television.

“With these actions, you are damaging your reputation. Stop your interference. If you don’t stop your sedition [in Lebanon], then the Lebanese nation and regional countries will cut your nasty, plotting hand.”

 

Hariri tribunal: UN prosecutor issues sealed indictment

The UN Tribunal has issued sealed indictments for the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.  BBC News discusses the process that will now occur before the confidential information is made public.  A pre-trial judge will now review the indictments and determine whether or not to issue warrants for arrest.  This process could take two to three months.  It is largely believed that members of Hezbollah will be implicated.  In related news, Hezbollah has announced that they will not support caretaker Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in forming a new government in Lebanon.  Talks will begin today to start the process of forming a new government.

Hezbollah Forces Collapse of Lebanese Government

All the major news outlets are reporting on the resignation of 11 ministers of Hezbollah from the Lebanese national unity government, dissolving the government in the process.  This NY Times article provides details and analysis of the largest crisis in Lebanon since 2008 when sectarian violence brought the country to the brink of civil war.  This current crisis is believed to be caused by the impending ruling of a UN tribunal in the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri.  Many believe that Hezbollah will be implicated in the assassination.  It is feared that the UN tribunal’s ruling could have dire consequences.

Many here fear that “unknown” could turn bloody with street clashes in which Hezbollah is likely to prevail. An outbreak of violence might enable it to effectively seize control of the government and force a new reality on the streets of Beirut, at least until a new agreement can be reached under the auspices of foreign powers, who have long played an outsized role in the country’s domestic affairs.

Saudi plan included in leaked cables

According to this Al Jazeera article, Saudi Arabia has lobbied for the creation of an Arab force in Lebanon to check the power of Iran through Hezbollah.  Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal cited support from Jordan, Egypt, and other Arab League states.  The idea was apparently met by US skepticism.